Top 10 Most Beautiful Natural Wonders in New Zealand
Natural Wonders in New Zealand. Photo: KnowInsiders

New Zealand owns maggots that shoot light out of their buttocks, dinosaur lizards with three eyes, perfectly rounded boulders, pancake rocks, orange rimmed springs, green water, blue water, insanely clear water, an obscene about of gannets, tiny penguins, birds with no wings, and green light displays in the sky.

There’s simply nowhere else on the planet that offers the diversity of landscapes, remarkable geological features or number of scenes to stop you in your tracks. From the tip to the toe of the land of the long white cloud, these are the places that will leave you in awe.

List of The Most Beautiful & Unique Natural Wonders in New Zealand

1. Lake Taupo

2. Lake Wanaka

3. Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

4. Cathedral Cove, Coromandel

5. Milford Sound, Fiordland

6. Franz Josef glacier

7. Rikoriko Cave – Northland

8. Waiheke Island

9. Blue Pools

10. Marlborough Sounds, Marlborough

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What Are The Most Beautiful & Unique Natural Wonders in New Zealand?

1. Lake Taupo

Photo: Korupt Vision
Photo: Korupt Vision

Big, blue and absolutely beautiful – Lake Taupo is certainly a treat for the eyes. Not only is the lake nice to look at, it also offers all manner of exciting activities. Swimming, kayaking, standup paddleboarding and water skiing are all popular ways to enjoy the water, while sailing and cruise excursions give you a chance to sit back and take in the magnificent scenery.

The cliffs around the lake feature an impressive 14-metre-tall carving by Maori artist Matahi Brightwell – a must-see while in the area.

2. Lake Wanaka

Photo: Times of India
Photo: Times of India

Lake Wanaka has long wowed visitors with its calm waters and dramatic peaks, but it’s got something special that makes it stand out from the rest. An Instagram-famous willow tree sits at the southern end of the lake, emerging from its reflective waters. That Wanaka Tree, as it’s known, has become one of the world’s most photographed trees, and rightfully so!

The image of the sloping willow against a backdrop of the lake and its surrounding mountains is one worth capturing.

3. Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

Photo: World Atlas
Photo: World Atlas

Aoraki/Mount Cook is New Zealand’s highest mountain, with a height of 3,754 metres. It helped Sir Edmund Hillary to develop his climbing skills in preparation for the conquest of Everest and is alpine in the purest sense – with skyscraping peaks, glaciers and permanent snow fields, all set under a star-studded sky.

At the foot of the mountain sits the village of Mount Cook – a haven in one of the most rugged parts of New Zealand. For those taking a road trip through the South Island, it’s a must-do along the Alpine Lakes road trip.

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4. Cathedral Cove, Coromandel

Photo: PandoTrip
Photo: PandoTrip

From the North Island’s beautiful Hahei Beach you can walk to Cathedral Cove, where a naturally formed archway deserves photographic attention. From the north end of the beach, a one hour walking track leads along the cliff top and then descends to the Cove. Here a gigantic arched cavern passes through a white rock headland to join two secluded coves.

The cathedral-like arch gives the whole area an air of grandeur. The beach is sandy with shady pohutukawa trees along the foreshore – a perfect place for a picnic and a swim.

5. Milford Sound, Fiordland

Photo: Intro Travel
Photo: Intro Travel

Described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. Breathtaking in any weather, the fjord’s cliffs rise vertically from the dark waters, mountain peaks scrape the sky and waterfalls cascade downwards from as high as 1000 metres. When it rains in Milford Sound, and it often does, those waterfalls multiply with magnificent effect.

For those willing to take the journey out to Milford Sound by boat or helicopter, the reward is great, with sweeping views of one of New Zealand’s most picturesque locations.

6. Franz Josef glacier

Photo: TripSavvy
Photo: TripSavvy

Franz Josef glacier is a gentle 45-minute walk through a rainforest, emerging to find a lunar-like valley with towering waterfalls and peaks that disappear into the clouds. At the end of the walkway, you'll marvel at a hulking 12-kilometre glacier that disappears into the mountains.

The best way to appreciate the glacier is to do a heli-hike, where you'll spend two hours weaving past ice towers, through tight corners and even exploring ice caves.

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7. Rikoriko Cave – Northland

Photo: Stuff.co.nz
Photo: Stuff.co.nz

New Zealand is home to the largest sea cave in the world. The Rikoriko Cave is found at the Poor Knights Islands, a magnificent marine reserve an hour boat trip off the coast of the small Northland town of Tutukaka.

The snorkelling and diving are the best you'll find in Aotearoa, thanks to a warm current that brushes past from Australia. As a result, tropical fish and even whale sharks have been spotted out there.

The easiest way to reach the marine reserve and cave is on a snorkelling trip with Dive! Tutukaka. After spending a few hours in the water surrounded by fish, your boat motors inside the cave, where a horn is blasted. Due to the sound waves all rebounding and travelling to the centre of the cave – where the boat is positioned – the blast vibrates the organs in your body.

8. Waiheke Island

Photo: Wotif
Photo: Wotif

Auckland’s big city energy is offset by the relaxed atmosphere of nearby Waiheke Island. Just a short ferry ride away from the mainland lies a tranquil paradise of sandy beaches and world-class wineries – what a combo! Little white sailboats bob on sapphire blue waters as Auckland’s skyscrapers enviously look on, while olive groves and vineyards colour the island a pleasing shade of green.

Whether you fancy hiking to scope out the best photo ops or stretching out on the beach with a good book, this little slice of heaven will make it hard to believe you were in New Zealand’s busiest city an hour ago!

9. Blue Pools

Photo: Picfair
Photo: Picfair

Water features pretty heavily in our top ten natural wonders. With sea all around us and some amazing lakes, it’s perhaps no surprise. However, making it onto our list is the amazing Blue Pools which can be found along the Haast Pass between the West Coast and Wanaka. A short bush walk will take you to the pools and you will probably do a double take at the clarity of the water.

The pools are pretty deep but you can see everything going on down there including the brown trout swimming around.

10. Marlborough Sounds, Marlborough

Photo: Viator
Photo: Viator

With 1500km of New Zealand’s coastline, Marlborough Sounds is a collection of ancient sunken river valleys filled with the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Just a stone’s throw away from the stunning vineyards of Marlborough, forested hills rise steeply from the sea around an intricate coastline of sheltered inlets and sandy bays.

The area has three main bodies of water – Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru and Pelorus Sounds – all of which are equally magnificent. To truly get away from it all take a single or multi-day hike along the scenic Queen Charlotte Track.

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